The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Thursday


The Animals
By Geoffrey Lehmann


A "domesticated bearded dragon $400"
is not my idea of an animal companion.
A calf asleep on a double bed, perhaps,
or a hare with long ears
crouched under a mahogany sideboard,
thumping the floor.
Or a koala that climbed up a four-poster bed
surprising a seventeen-year-old in her nightie.

They were here before us—the animals—
and we were once them.
Without understanding we watched the sunrise
and the coming of night,
registered the changing of seasons
and dew on leaves that brushed our flanks.
We, the animals,
knew feelings, had a memory,
exchanged sounds and visual cues,
but did not know
what came before
or ask what was to come.

A neighbor sleeps with a wombat in her bed,
and her husband sleeps on the veranda.
Kangaroos watch TV through her sitting-room window.

Bottle-fed joeys get osteoporosis
if the composition of the milk isn't right.
The females make better companions.
With shy brown eyes
they hop along beside you
as you collect mail from the gate at dusk.

We were once them,
and now are their custodians.
They know we are different
and their eyes tell us to keep our promise.

Bill came home after a fortnight away.
Potted plants had been kicked off the veranda,
there was an awful smell,
and the front door was ajar.
Inside the house
chairs were overturned,
papers and cushions trampled on floors,
and in the bathroom,
wedged against the washbasin,
her putrid flesh held together by hide,
Twinkle, a pony.
A tractor winched the body out.

--------

Another from this week's New Yorker. I really dislike this one but I've read it three times so I suppose that means there's something compelling in it.

The major events of my day were laundry, working on my speech for the Bar Mitzvah, and Adam's end-of-year school concert in the evening. We went with my parents and in-laws after having California Tortilla for dinner with the latter. This year, all five of the school's musical groups played on the same evening in the high school auditorium, so we heard three levels of band and two levels of orchestra. It was the teacher's 20th anniversary teaching there, so there was lots of self-congratulation in and around lots of student remarks about how mean he is, but even the sixth grade band at this school is vastly better than the band at older son's middle school, so he must be doing something right.


Adam and friends chatting before the concert started.


The intermediate orchestra tuning.


The principal of the middle school welcoming everyone to the high school auditorium.


The intermediate orchestra playing Sandra Dackow's "Flirtation."


The advanced band playing Larry Daehn's "British Isles Suite."


And a gratuitous photo of Daisy showing off her mad craft skillz.
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In other happy news, we have received the squishy stress penguins that will be our party favors and are just waiting on the pewter penguin placecard holders. Well, and we have to make a board for guests to sign (with pictures of penguins, of course) and a big sign with a penguin indicating that the party is downstairs in the building. And, heh, the seating chart, now that we pretty much know who's coming and who's not. No pressure. *tears out remaining hair*
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